Governor Martyn Roper has asked Police Commissioner Derek Byrne to conduct an ‘urgent review’ of online harassment aimed at elected representatives seeking to work through formation of a coalition government.
“Online harassment is not CaymanKind. It is not the Cayman Islands that I have come to admire and respect,” Roper said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
The governor said the aim of the review of the content, is “to see if it breaks our laws”, and going forward “to monitor this matter very closely”.
Roper, in his statement, also called for calm and for the democratic process to be allowed to take its course.
“The process of forming a Government is always a tense time, and I recognise that there is uncertainty at the moment,” he said.
Over the last four days, Cayman has witnessed unprecedented online attacks, active calls for protests at MPs’ homes and indirect threats to influence to the positions taken by legislators.
Roper has taken note of the social media activity.
“However, since the General Election I have been concerned and saddened to see the way in which some people in our community have behaved, particularly in various online fora towards our elected representatives. The tone and content of some posts has been unpleasant and, some may say, bullying,” he said.
Roper urged the community “to remain calm and be patient. The democratic process must be allowed to play itself out.”
He said in Cayman “we are lucky that on these islands we all enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression but I ask everyone to exercise this in a respectful way”.
On Sunday, Progressives leader Roy McTaggart, in a statement and in a subsequent interview with the Cayman Compass, also called for calm.
Over the weekend, protesters assembled outside the East End home of MP Isaac Rankine to pressure him to return to his arrangement with the Wayne Panton-led PACT coalition.
Rankine had called a meeting that day to speak to his constituents, but it was later cancelled, citing public safety concerns following “social media posts inciting violence”.
Rankine unseated former opposition leader Arden McLean in East End. He has aligned with the Progressives party, which is seeking to form a rival coalition government to Panton’s faction.